What Is a PMO in Project Management: A 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about a PMO, what it does, and how you can work in the industry. Discover the in-demand project management skills needed to get a job in a PMO.

[Featured image] A project manager is in the office talking to their coworker.

A PMO, or project management office, is a specific group within an organization that provides project management support to projects. They ensure that best project management practices and standards are met, and help the company deliver maximum value through its projects. 

As you investigate your PMO career options, stay abreast of how the field of project management evolves. For example, Monday.com's compilation of trends and statistics from organizations like Wellingtone, Project Management Institute, and State of Agile tells us that [1]:

  • Nearly eight out of 10 organizations have a PMO, and 50 percent have two or more.

  • 61 percent of organizations provide project management training.

  • 59 percent of project managers lead between two and five projects.

Continue reading to learn about the different PMO roles, education requirements, and required skills to succeed.  

What is a PMO?

PMOs are groups within businesses, government agencies, or other organizations that maintain and define standards for project management. A PMO can be responsible for multiple projects across the organization. 

The PMO has several functions, like ensuring that projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard. The main tasks include:

  • Project planning: documenting steps, scope, and milestones for completing a project

  • Project process improvement: outlining how a project's processes can be improved in the future

  • Project resourcing: allocating resources to complete a project, including people, financing, software, and materials

  • Project monitoring: tracking a project's metrics, progress, and tasks to make sure the project will be completed on time and within budget

  • Project control: a set of processes for tracking potential threats, issues, and opportunities for enabling project decision-making

The PMO also provides support to project managers in the form of templates, best practices, and training. In some cases, the PMO may also be responsible for resource allocation and management.

PMO vs. project manager

As a project manager, you’ll handle all the day-to-day management of the project. They work with the project team to ensure that tasks are completed on time and within budget. 

The PMO is responsible for setting and maintaining project standards. As a member of the PMO staff, you’ll help support project teams and project managers while also working with other departments to ensure that projects are coordinated and aligned with organizational objectives. 

PMO roles

A specialized team makes up the project management office that supports project managers in delivering projects. If you work in a PMO, your job will likely include providing centralized coordination and support for specific or all projects of an organization. 

To facilitate the management of the organization's resources and best practices, the PMO provides process expertise, administrative support, and knowledge of management coordination. This may include a variety of roles within the office, including:

  • Administrative support staff to work on report generation and software support

  • Process-focused staff to provide support through training, leading projects, assuring quality, and developing methodologies

  • Knowledge management staff to keep records of methods, standards, and lessons learned in a project database

  • Resources managers to ensure that resources are suitable for project requirements; manage and balance scarce resources; forecast and assist in resource acquisition plans; and secure key resource assignments

The PMO may also provide oversight and governance so that projects are aligned with organizational strategy and goals and that they are being executed effectively and efficiently. 

4 Types of jobs in a PMO

The PMO team normally works collaboratively, sharing information so that projects stay on track. Consider some of the different roles in the project management office:

1. PMO manager 

A PMO manager manages the entire PMO. They’re responsible for ensuring that the processes are followed and effective. PMO managers also oversee project managers so that they follow the correct procedures. They’ll often liaise with senior managers to ensure that they're updated with progress and that any project risks or issues are promptly addressed.

Average annual base salary (US): $148,938 [2]

2. PMO analyst

A PMO analyst collects and analyzes data to help the PMO manager and project managers make decisions about projects. They also create reports and presentations to communicate their findings to project stakeholders.

Average annual base salary (US): $92,794 [3]

3. PMO process specialist

A PMO specialist is responsible for providing expert knowledge and advice to the PMO manager on all aspects of project management. PMO specialists are responsible for the implementation and coordination of PMO processes. This role works closely with the PMO manager to ensure that the processes are followed and effective. PMO specialists may also be involved in training and mentoring other members of the PMO team.

Average annual base salary (US): $80,906 [4]

4. PMO coordinator 

The PMO coordinator is responsible for supporting the PMO manager in all aspects of the PMO. This includes maintaining project documentation, coordinating meetings and events, and communicating with project stakeholders. They work closely with the PMO manager to promptly complete all activities.

Average annual base salary (US): $77,873 [5]

Reasons to consider working in a PMO

PMO roles can give you a foundation for career progression into strategic roles and project leadership. You can develop competencies, gain exposure, build your reputation, and contribute to the success of diverse projects. This can be a fulfilling career move, an advancement to work in project management, or may enhance your career prospects in various ways.

Develop your project management skills.

A PMO can be an opportunity to enhance your project management skills and professional networks by working on various projects and learning from experienced project managers. Working in a PMO  may also provide opportunities to work on diverse aspects of project management and help you establish a rounded project skill set.

Gain exposure to portfolio management. 

Working in a PMO can give you exposure to portfolio management, an understanding of how different projects fit together, and ways to optimize resources across multiple projects. You'll learn about how resources are allocated to different areas or projects, changing project priorities, and the project management lifecycle

Increase your visibility across the organization’s portfolio.

A role in a PMO can increase your visibility across all of the organization’s projects to help you identify potential problems and recommend solutions. This may help you gain more exposure to project management, influence in your organization, and improve your career prospects. Being a part of the PMO offers valuable insight and experience with an organization’s strategic side, which you might not be able to gain in individual elements of a project.

Improve processes for more effective project management.

Working in a PMO, you’ll be responsible for continuously improving the organization’s project management processes and procedures. This will help ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. 

What are the requirements to work in a PMO?

There isn’t a single set of requirements for working in a PMO. The required qualifications vary depending on the organization and position you’re applying for. Some common things many employers look for include having a degree, professional experience, and relevant skills.

Consider obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree in project management, business, or a related field is typically required to work as a manager in a PMO. However, there is no definitive college degree or career route to working in a PMO. You can develop suitable skills in various backgrounds or by studying various types of degree programs. To work as an analyst in a PMO, for example, you may benefit from a computer science or data analysis-related degree. 

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Get experience in projects.

It’s typically required to have experience working on projects for anyone looking to work in a PMO. You can gain this experience through working in a software team, an infrastructure team, or working in a project management team. Some PMO positions require several years of experience working on projects. 

Build skills.

Different PMO roles require different skill sets. Some of the main skills you should look to demonstrate on your resume when applying for PMO roles include:

  • Excellent writing, communication, and interpersonal skills

  • Strength in working both independently and as part of a team

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills

  • Detail-oriented with the ability to see the big picture

  • Flexible and adaptable to change

  • Organized, efficient, and able to meet deadlines

  • Knowledge of business goals

  • Ability to meet project goals

Pro tip:

Research in-demand skills for different PMO roles on career sites like Zippia and ZipRecruiter, which compile data from thousands of resumes and job descriptions. For example, ZipRecruiter reports that top skills listed in PMO manager job descriptions include program management, oversight, project management methodology, and enterprise resource planning [6].


Consider a master’s degree. 

A master’s degree in project management or a related field can be beneficial when looking at PMO roles. If you’re looking to advance into more senior roles, a master's degree may give you a competitive edge. Advanced degrees can help you to stand out as you move up the career ladder.

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Certifications for PMO job roles

Certifications aren’t necessary in every case, but getting one may help boost your career. By completing certification coursework, you'll learn best practices, get insights into the latest trends and technologies, and put yourself ahead of the competition.

Whether you're looking for a new PMO role or want to advance your career in your current PMO role, here are six PMO certifications that can distinguish you from the crowd:

Advanced Project Management Certificate Program

  • Cost: $5,950

  • What it covers: Choose five of 11 available courses: Agile techniques, storytelling and presentations, dealing with project change, managing multiple projects, leading effective complex projects, leading organizational change, leading strategy projects, managing new project development, managing supplier performance, managing without authority, project rescue and recovery

Certified Manager Certification (CM)

  • Cost: $555

  • What it covers: management essentials, planning and organizing, leading and controlling

  • Website: CM

Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

  • Cost: $995

  • What it covers: Lean and Agile methods, Scrum framework, estimating and forecasting, Scrum team roles, requirements and specs

Information Technology Infrastructure Library Foundations Certification (ITIL©4)

  • Cost: varies according to ATO (accredited training organization)

  • What it covers: IT and digital service delivery, value streams, cultural and behavioral principles, service management terms and concepts

PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)

  • Cost: $670 for non-members, $520 for members

  • What it covers: risk strategy and planning, risk identification, risk analysis, risk response, monitor and close risks

Project Management Professional (PMP)

  • Cost: $575 for non-members, $405 for members

  • What it covers: building a team, project management processes, and managing projects within a business environment

Read more: 10 PMI Certifications to Level Up Your Project Management Career

Advance your PMO career with Coursera

A career move into a PMO can be a good choice to build project skills and experience. In a PMO, you’ll have the opportunity to use and improve your skills, while also playing a key role in ensuring that projects are completed successfully.

If you’re starting your career in project management and want to learn job-ready skills, consider the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate, on Coursera. You don’t need a degree or any experience to complete it; it can provide you with valuable skills and experience that employers value.

Article sources


Mondayblog. “24 Project Management Statistics You Don’t Want to Miss in 2022, https://monday.com/blog/project-management/project-management-statistics/.” Accessed January 12, 2023.

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